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American Energy Manufacturing Technical Corrections Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. WAXMAN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

The United States and the world are facing an enormous and growing threat: The pollution we are putting into the atmosphere is changing the climate around us. In this last year alone, New York City has been flooded by a superstorm, the Midwest has roasted in record-setting drought, and wildfires have scorched the West. These are not aberrations. They are the early warning signs of what the future will look like.

Today, on one of the very last days of this Congress, we're taking our first step to recognize this looming threat. It's not a big step--in fact, it's a tiny one--but it gives hope that we can work together, and it is a signal that at least we are headed in the right direction.

Energy efficiency is an essential part of any serious effort to address climate change. It is the low-hanging fruit that reduces pollution while saving Americans money and creating jobs. Whether it's a building code or appliance standard or home retrofit, we should be doing far more in this area. In fact, a recent International Energy Agency analysis found that without new policies, two-thirds of the cost-effective energy efficiency gains that could be made will remain unrealized through 2035.

This bill includes a number of noncontroversial technical fixes to appliance energy efficiency standards for water heaters, walk-in freezers, deli counter-style refrigerators, and certain types of air conditioners. The bill includes improvements to the process by which the Department of Energy updates its energy efficiency standards. In addition, there are a few sensible provisions to promote industrial energy efficiency and the efficiency of Federal Government buildings.

This bill will not produce large energy savings, but it's a worthwhile package of consensus improvements. The package is based on provisions that recently passed the Senate by unanimous consent. Both industry and energy efficiency advocates support the bill. This is a bill that has a very good chance of becoming law this month.

But we need to do much, much more. The beginning of a new Congress provides us an opportunity to work together on a bipartisan basis to enact commonsense energy efficiency legislation. Such legislation will save consumers money, boost domestic manufacturing, while cutting pollution, including the carbon pollution that is driving dangerous climate change.

I look forward to starting those discussions with Chairman Upton and our Energy and Commerce Committee colleagues. There are many good ideas for policies that would reduce waste and save energy, and we should work together to explore those ideas and enact the ones we can agree on.

Today's bill is a first step. I encourage my colleagues to support it, and I reserve the balance of my time.


Mr. WAXMAN. Mr. Speaker, I have no further requests for time on my side of the aisle to support this legislation. I know that almost all Democrats that I have talked to think it's a good bill. I have urged the others to join with them in supporting it. I think it's a worthwhile piece of legislation. It's a small step, but it's a step in the right direction. And it will clarify some issues that still need to be clarified. So let's get this done.

And in pursuit of that objective, I yield back the balance of my time.


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